Born on June 9, 1968 just four days
after the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy to a single
mother in Kansas City, Kansas, Kenya Kimbrough began a
life without answers and complete knowledge of who she
was and what her purpose in life should be. Her
mother became pregnant at a young age and left her
hometown, family, and friends to live in a catholic home
for pregnant girls. While most of the young girls
were believed to be on "vacation" and would arrive back
to their hometowns without anyone aware that they had
been pregnant, Kenya's mother gave birth and went back
to Springfield, Missouri with her baby daughter and
never once considered adoption.
She attended St. Joseph Catholic School in Springfield,
Missouri while most of the black children in her
neighborhood walked to the "all black" public elementary
school. Kenya noted that as a young girl, she
truly feared for her life because all of the black girls
wanted to fight her when they saw her get off the yellow
school bus wearing a perfectly pleated uniform.
They must have thought that Kenya was going off to a
party each day and jealously seethed out of every pore.
Yet little did they know, Kenya faced a daily fear of
being ridiculed and separated from the white children at
As time went by, she
finally attended Central High in Springfield and
graduated in the top 5 percent of her class. She
was a graduation speaker and served as Vice President of
the Student Council. She received a "full ride"
scholarship to Drury University.
Following the death of her
grandfather, John T. Kimbrough, Kenya started partying
and running around with people that did not have her
ambitions or share her dreams. It cost her
education as she dropped out of school, was arrested,
and lived a life of poverty.
In spite of the obstacles, she began
her professional career at the Missouri Association of
Realtors, followed by a 4 year stint at the Columbia
Convention & Visitors Bureau where she was the most
successful Convention Sales Manager in the bureau's
In 1997, she gave birth to a premature
3.5 lb. baby girl and learned her new identity as "Jada's
mom." She admits that it was difficult to no
longer be "Kim."
In 1999, she found her father
utilizing the new technology of the Internet. She
had searched for him for most of her life and met him
for the first time when she turned 31 years of age.
She also entered college at William Woods
University based in Fulton, MO.
In 2000, she was twelve weeks from competing in a
natural bodybuilding show, when she suffered a torn ACL
ligament and was forced into knee surgery and a year of
rehabilitation. During this time, she lost her job
with the CVB. Kenya recalls that she noticed a
tree in her backyard in October of that year and that
all of the leaves were changing into yellow, red, and
orange. The leaves were like flowers and the most
beautiful thing that she had seen. She was tearful
and crying to God asking why did she have to suffer so
much. The fallen leaf was his answer. He
reminded her that she was like the tree....strong, tall,
brown, with outstretched limbs. She would be
losing the "leaves" in her life, but that did not mean
it would be the end. He told her that winter is
near and to be prepared.
A tree can withstand the cold, ice,
snow, wind, rain, and lightning if it's roots are firmly
planted. Kenya would need to firmly plant herself
into the Word of God. With that, winter came.
On Valentine's Day, 2002, her mother
died unexpectedly at the age of 56. Her boyfriend,
who she thought she could not live without, dumped her.
Her friends all seemed to vanish. She wanted to
teach at a summer academy for black, inner-city youth,
and had been asked to by several educators in the
community. But was told she could not teach and
watched as the same "supporters" turned their backs.
Although she wanted to quit, move,
hide, runaway, and even die....she stayed in school for
herself. But more importantly for her daughter and
for the legacy of her mother. Kenya realized that
she was born at the end of the Civil Rights Movement
making her the first generation of first-class citizens
in America. And it was an obligation for her to
She continued to
educate and encourage poor black children in Columbia.
She gave of her time and resources freely. She
also home-schooled her daughter and spent nearly two
years keeping her by her side whether it was at the
bank, the grocery store, or in the offices of Missouri's
herself with work, discipline, and exercise. She
remained focused. In August, 2003, she received a
Bachelors of Science degree from William Woods
University making her the first person in her family to
graduate college. She was able to do so in the
presence of her proud grandmother and her beaming,
toothless six year old.
support her family, she began a website development and
Internet marketing company called MoDomains, LLC that
she has continued to develop. She continues to
speak to children during Black History Month and has
spoken to several organizations, businesses, and
individuals about utilizing the Internet.
Spring has finally come for her, and
speaking from experience, Kenya can teach you how to
survive the winter, too.